Now Accepting Applications to PolarTREC

Wendy Pillars holding chick

The application period for 2020-2021 applications from U.S. educators wishing to participate in the program and for researchers wanting to host an educator in the polar regions is now open!

Educator Application Deadline: Monday, 7 October 2019 by 5:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time
Researcher Application Deadline: Monday, 14 October 2019 by 5:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time
Access the applications here

An informational webinar for the 2020-2021 PolarTREC season was held on Wednesday, 11 September 2019 for teachers, informal science educators and researchers. You can view the archive here.

Expedition Timeline

Use the interactive timeline below to explore with the new cohort of educators and researchers!

2019 Expedition Timeline

Latest Journals

18 September 2019 Where Exactly Is The Arctic?

By: Katie Gavenus
Yellow birch leaves in a pool of water
Where Exactly Is The Arctic? Birch leaves float in a small pool in the boreal forest of Tromso. The plane coming into Tromso skirted close to the tops of the mountain as we dropped into the fjord for landing. The landscape out the window felt familiar. This close to the mountains, I was…

9 September 2019 A Roller Coaster Month

By: Denise Hardoy
Sunset in Antarctica
Sunset. Sunrise Photo Courtesy Michael League, Polar TREC The sun set in McMurdo Station , Antarctica for the last time in the Austral fall on April 25th. Twenty four hours of darkness continuously every day. That's kind of how I felt when I got the e-mail on August 5th telling me that I had…

8 September 2019 What Does Sea Ice Smell Like?

By: Katie Gavenus
Sea ice begins to form on the Arctic Ocean. The first stages of freezing ocean water is called frazil ice.
What Does Sea Ice Smell Like? Frazil ice forms on the Arctic Ocean as temperatures drop. Photo by Bill Schmoker (PolarTREC 2015), Courtesy of ARCUS. "It smells like fall," I exclaimed to a friend recently. They agreed with joy. This summer has been so unusual here in Homer - hot, sunny, smoky.…

PolarTREC Updates

MOSAiC Expedition: Sign Up for Weekly Expedition Engagement Activities!

MOSAiC Expedition

On September 20, 2019 one of the largest research expeditions in the Central Arctic ever conducted will begin when the Polarstern icebreaker sets out to freeze itself in Arctic sea ice for a year. Keep track of the expedition and what’s going on in the Arctic through MOSAiC's weekly news – MOSAiC Monday – great for K-12, undergraduate, and graduate classroom use. Engage your students with real-time updates, behind the scenes access to the MOSAiC expedition, and short, simple activities. Sign up to receive MOSAiC Monday in your inbox every Monday during the expedition. PolarTREC educator, Katie Gavenus and researcher Anne Gold will be on the first leg of this expedition. You can follow their journey through the expedition page on PolarTREC and subscribe to their journals.

Now Archived! PolarConnect Event with educator Kate Steeper

Kate at Atigun Gorge

On Thursday 15 August, educator Kate Steeper and researcher Dr. Syndonia Bret-Harte presented live from Toolik Field Station in Alaska on the sampling and research that have been carried out on a research project looking at shrubs, snow, and nitrogen in arctic Alaska. You can learn more about Kate's expedition here. An archive of the event can be found here.


What is PolarTREC?

STEM at the Poles! Research Experiences for Formal and Informal Educators in the Polar Regions is the newest iteration of PolarTREC. The educators (formal and informal) come from the United States and spend 3-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the Arctic or Antarctica, working side by side with scientists. STEM at the Poles is professional development for educators across all Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines connecting them to the polar regions and the research community; developing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) resources; and changing how they teach STEM in both informal and formal learning environments. PolarTREC is funded through awards from the National Science Foundation and administered by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS).

Image: The 2019 PolarTREC Cohort and project management team pose for a photo outside the Syun-Ichi Akasofu Building on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus during orientation week.

Find people, expeditions, and resources

PolarTREC has hosted 193 expeditions and houses over 2,000 resources for educational use.

Locate Team Members

Check out our member directory to locate a team member from a current or previous PolarTREC expedition.

Follow Expeditions

All current and past expeditiions are listed in reverse chronological order for viewing.

Find Resources

Lesson plans, activities, articles, web links and more can be found in our resources section.